Neighborly love

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Well gee.

I went out this afternoon to attack the front yard bushes and trees. My neighbor was in her backyard mowing her yard. I was going about, hacking away branches to my heart's content (seriously, it looks SO much better now), and then I realize that she is now mowing OUR backyard! I went back to tell her that I had every intention of mowing the yard tomorrow (not this afternoon only because I sort of do want the cleaning people to come tomorrow morning, and I was thinking that bouncing around on a riding lawnmower may do the labor trick- pure speculation, of course....), and that she didn't have to mow ours, but she happily said that she wanted to. It was so sweet of her!!

So I went back to hacking branches. Then I realize that she is now mowing our side yard!!! What! I reminded her that she really doesn't have to, but she insists. I started to bag the smaller stuff I'd trimmed and make a big pile of the larger branches to pull around to the backyard. When I got back into the front yard, she is now mowing the front yard!!!

Wow. She finished mowing just about as I was done hauling everything out of the front yard (okay, so now there is a big pile of branches in the backyard, but hopefully the garbage people will take them on Monday!!), and we talked for a few minutes. She reminded me that we mowed their yard when her husband was sick last summer, but still, I feel like I owe her big time! Maybe I will make them a batch of cookies or some cinnamon rolls....

I am so happy that the trees are trimmed. They look so much cleaner. WHEW!

AND, another fun thing is that there is another gal my age-ish in my neighborhood who had a baby earlier this year, and we always say "hi" in passing when we're walking our dogs, but we've never talked. Well today, she was out walking and she came up to introduce herself!!!! I was so excited!! I don't know exactly how old her baby girl is, but we exchanged phone numbers and are going to get out to walk with each other sometime after Maryanne is born! From first impressions, it seems like we would get along great- another new friend!

What an awesome afternoon!

My other half

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

(Mr. A)

I am pretty sure that at one point or another, nearly every infertile wife will say or write (or at least think) that there is no way she could survive infertility without her husband. At least that would be my prayer for all infertile women (if we have to be infertile), that we would all be blessed with amazing husbands- I cannot even imagine going through the struggles of longing for a baby without the support of Mr. A.

He is is a problem-solver like me, but in a more man-problem-solving way. All throughout our journey to conceive, no matter what stumbling blocks we hit, he remained objectively focused on our desire to expand our family. Even when I'd be emotional and wishy-washy, he never stopped believing that we would welcome a baby here someday, and he was going to do whatever it took to get to the bottom of whatever mysterious issue was preventing us from conceiving.

But even as he was strong and steadfast and held his vision for us, I tried to remind myself that it wasn't all about me; he wanted to be a dad, too, and even though lots of times, he didn't let it affect so much of his life, like I did. But he knew the pain of infertility, too. But sometimes, in the throws of infertility, it was easy to forget that he felt the stress and longing and anticipation, too.

And as he was encouraging me the other night when I was freaking out about stupid little things talking about how annoyed I was, I had sort of a flashback to last fall and all the times when I ended up so absorbed in my own infertility journey that I forgot he was going through it, too, with me.

He's about to become a dad. Something he's always wanted. But not something he is taking lightly. He is already the hardest-working person I have ever known in my life, but I can tell that now, all his work and time away and job and responsibilities are starting to be in a new light in his mind. It won't be just work or a paycheck anymore- it will be a way for our family to thrive and grow together and be happy.

No pressure! While I am rambling on about the wooly bushes in our front yard, he reminds me that he's been having a crazy time at work right now, too, and it's not just me who's feeling pulled in all different directions.

Humility check!

I am so grateful for the perspective that he brings to our marriage and to our life- all our journey together-, and how he strives to provide the best life imaginable for us. How even when he has stupid days at work, if he gets home and I'm being fussy about whatever silly thing (which I promise is not that often), he will selflessly let me fuss until I remember that maybe I should ask how he is doing.

He is going to be an awesome dad. Last night, when we went to sleep, Maryanne was moving like CRAZY. She is so low and I guess running out of room, so her movements were really powerful! I was loving it, and I whispered to him that she was going nuts. I think he thought it was making me uncomfortable (it wasn't really, I was just keeping him posted), because he rolled over and started rubbing my bump, and he goes "Sssssh, sweetie, it's okay..."

It was one of the sweetest things I have ever heard. (And, can I just say, she quieted down! Wow! I told him he was in charge of bedtimes!!!) I just laid there smiling for a while. I am so lucky.

So no matter if you are still in the trenches of infertility or if you are preparing to welcome a baby into your house or if you are parenting a little one, don't forget your other half. They are walking beside you through this journey, too, even if you feel like some days it's all on your shoulders. Don't forget to consider their feelings when things are tough, and don't forget to rejoice together when things are great!


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

(Update from post this morning- see below)

Good (cool) news: Mr. A encouraged me to go to my yoga class and call the repair place on the way. (I was fretting, what if I called, and they said they could only come at 10:30? He said, don't worry about it, just tell them you won't be home till the afternoon. Love that he puts my sanity ahead of all the condiments that may or may not have to be replaced....) AND, it was a great yoga class. The other girl who is also 39 weeks (gah, still can't believe I'M 39 weeks!!) was also there, and we are hoping that we are cuddling our babies by this time next Tuesday morning. AND, after class, we went to this cupcake place and got cupcakes for a treat. So fun :) I am glad that I took Mr. A's advice and went to yoga because....

Bad (uncool) news: The earliest the fridge people can come out is tomorrow between 1-6pm!!! Wow. Definitely thankful we have our chest freezer, and definitely hoping it doesn't crap out, too. Trying to figure out how we can eat at home (without relying on takeout for every meal) because they said depending on the part required, it might be MONDAY before it is fixed. That's right. Like, the day before Maryanne is due. Oh well, trying to roll with the punches here!! (The cupcake that I got after yoga is is REALLY good!)

But overall, feeling WAY better today and not really annoyed at anything right now. It would be sort of hilarious (in retrospect, I'm sure) if she was born in the next few days and we had a houseful of company with no refrigeration capabilities.

Well this is just great. (Sarcasm)

I had a very annoying day yesterday. Everything was getting under my skin!!! Let's recap, for fun ;-)

1. Instead of going out to greet her doggy friends, now Banana just stands next to me in the front yard and barks at them. Maybe she is ramping up her protection instinct, but it is annoying to have her barking so much all of a sudden.

2. I have suspected for a few days that the fridge is not working properly. Yesterday, it was definitely not cooling like it was supposed to, and I told Mr. A and said I was going to call a repair man. I think he thought I was just being fussy and said he would look at it when he got home. Well by the time he got home, it was barely cold in there (the freezer part seems to work just fine). AND he discovered that the whole fridge is swelling or something, to the point where it is jammed up against the cabinet next to it, so we can't even roll it out to see what's behind it. GREAT. After all the extra food I've gotten and made, and with the new baby coming, and with the throngs of out of town guests waiting with baited breath for when they can come stay with us, our fridge is crapped out. GREAT. We moved all the food from the freezer to the garage freezer, and put all the ice and ice packs in the fridge part, to try to keep it as cool as possible in there until we can get a repair man. So now I'm waiting until 8:30am to call and see if they can come out today before all our food spoils (probably some is already bad).

{3. Because I can't call until 8:30am today, I will probably miss my yoga class this morning :( }

4. Our yard (particularly the bushes and trees and WEEDS) is out of control. I haven't really kept up with it like I usually do (it's not like I haven't been active in other ways during my pregnancy, I guess I've just been busy doing other things), and Mr. A could literally care less about the state of the grass or landscaping, so it has been sorely neglected all summer. The bushes are completely raggedy and the trees need trimming, and the yard needs mowing. I think it looks awful. UGH. Again, right before company comes, wonderful! Our yard looks like crap. (Mr. A doesn't think it looks bad, but again, he could care less about any of that kind of stuff.)

5. Mr. A is just really busy. Between work changes (his company split in two and his half is getting itself situated to be on its own two feet), and his new hobby of flying (taking pilot's lessons), he's been getting home past normal dinnertime most days recently, and it's just getting a little old. Especially with regard to the flying lessons, I haven't really minded that much because it's something he has wanted to do his whole life and he is great at it, and he probably won't be able to spend as much time on it after Maryanne is born, but it would be nice to have dinner together at a normal time again, instead of at 8:30pm or something. And all the extra work hours are just plain annoying.

So you may be able to imagine that I was just not a happy camper last night. Stupid Murphy's Law! Mr. A says I'm just nesting and that is why all this little stuff is getting to me, and maybe so. A few days ago, our house was perfectly in order for this baby and for everyone coming to meet her, and now I feel like it is all in disarray (e.g., my precious freezer stock lists are all wrong now!!!), and messy and jumbled and not prepared. Mr. A thinks for this reason alone, Maryanne will be here very soon. He's probably right!

The reason that God made him for me, though, is that even though he has a ton going on (that is realistically more stressful than a raggedy bush), he reminds me of perspective. Is it really worth fretting over a fridge when we are going to be welcoming the baby we've dreamed of into our family soon? Don't you think people will understand if you haven't been weeding and pruning and tending to the landscaping (most people yes, but I am sure that my gardening-idol Aunt B's flowerbeds did not look like a scene from the jungle book even when she was 39 weeks pregnant with any of her children....)? Aren't you glad we hired a cleaning service to come (this Friday again) so you don't have to worry about cleaning the house right now, too?

So luckily by the time we went to bed, we were chuckling and laughing about all the stuff that is converging upon us right now. We will get through it- and I'm sure everything will be totally fine. Thank God for good husbands :)

TGIF etc

Friday, September 23, 2011

So glad it is Friday!! It will be so nice to sleep in tomorrow!!

Thanks for all the compliments on baby girl's name :) We are so excited to meet her! In the "All things TMI" file, I think I lost at least a portion of my mucus plug last night! Of course tons of people lose it and don't go into labor any time soon, but I was just so excited that it seems like my body is gearing up to have this baby! I might be feeling a tad more crampy today, but I am not sure if that is my mind playing tricks on me or not. It is sort of a throwback to the endless days of the 2ww's...trying to analyze my "symptoms" without going crazy and knowing the whole time that they could all mean nothing.

An update on my friend who had a less-than-glowing reaction to the name- she says that she really does like the name- she just thought it was a joke because she'd just talked to me on Saturday and I was staunchly against sharing the name, so when I emailed her about it on Monday, she just thought I gave up and made something up to appease her. She nevertheless admits it was her fault. I still don't think it was a very thoughtful way to react to someone telling her the name of their child, even if it WAS a joke! Because how are you to know?! Even if I told her that we were naming her something like "Paint-Can", I think it's the friend's job to say something nice, even if they hate it! Haha!!

I have a few things that we really need from the grocery store (BUTTER being numero uno), but it is POURING rain today, and I don't really want to go out. Not like the store isn't just 15 minutes away or anything, and not like I have anything else to do this afternoon. Unbelievably, after having my concentration at work be completely absent from January till July, I have totally buckled down in August and this month, and I am sitting in a great position every day at 1pm when I turn off my computer... lest I don't get to turn it on the next morning!

Yesterday, I had lunch with two girls from my prenatal yoga class, and we sat and ate and talked for just over two hours! It was SO nice, and I really hope I have made some lifelong friends. One is due Oct 1 (just a few days ahead of me), and the other is due Dec 28. We talked about all kinds of things (not just baby stuff), and I am so grateful to have met them. It is nice to have the common bond/interest in how yoga helps us to be the healthiest as possible going into labor and delivery and that kind of carries over into other common things like prioritizing healthy/whole eating and active hobbies and things like that. But it is also nice because we all come from different backgrounds, so it was really neat to find out a little more about our histories and families!

Well I think I will do my best to get myself motivated to run to the store. I don't want to put it off too much longer, and the thought of not having any butter in the house is kind of scary ;-)


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Since I'm only working mornings, now, this morning I went back and read through my email conversation with my friend. She actually said "You'll be sorry when I call her...." instead of "Joke will be on you..." and I think what she actually said is a little worse than what I thought she said. Oh well.

Literally everyone else that we have told really likes the name (including the girls in my yoga class), so that makes us feel really happy. Even though I know everyone else's approval is not required.

I'm working this afternoon since I had yoga this morning, and I just opened my email and my friend has emailed me this:

"Did I totally offend you yesterday???? I fretted about it all evening...."

Well, let's see. You just told a mom who emailed you a totally legitimate email announcing the name of her child that the you think the name is a joke.


I have a pretty high standard for offending actions, so I'm not sure if I was "offended", but I definitely didn't appreciate it, and I think it would have been less awkward if she'd just said, well that is pretty old-fashioned for a baby, or whatever characteristic that made her think the name was a joke.

I was definitely concerned about people's comments about the name, which is why I wanted to wait until she was born to share, but like I said yesterday, I just couldn't deny Mr. A's excitement to share. He had always been confident that it was a beautiful name, and he wasn't worried at all about negative feedback, and I count myself very lucky that so far we have only my friend in that category.

And for all my dear devoted readers, for maybe just a day or so until I get paranoid and remove this part of this post, her name is....

(Edited out- sorry you missed it!)

Hope you don't think it's a joke ;-) We think it is beautiful and feminine and strong, just like we hope our little girl will be! (See previous post for the family inspirations.)

What should I write back to my friend???

Insert foot....

Monday, September 19, 2011

Had another good midwife appointment this morning! After that random high blood pressure week, it is down again this week (as it was last week). I guess it was just a fluke or something!

Mr. A was so excited to share the name of baby girl. He just couldn't wait any longer!! So even though I wanted it to be a surprise, I feel like I should honor his excitement and had him share with our families!!

Basically, we combined our moms' names for her first name, and used my Grandma's (who just passed away in July) middle name as her middle name. All in all, her name is very traditional and feminine, and her middle name is kind of an older one that you don't hear often anymore. Her first two initials are MH. So far, out of everyone who has responded (most people), only one person has acted like they totally did not like it. (Even Mr. A's brothers said it sounded pretty!)

When I emailed this person her name today, I was all excited to share it with her because I'd just talked to her on Saturday and she was wanting to know. She said that her vote would be for something traditional.

What does she email back today?

"Joke will be on you when I call her M for the next 10 years!"


I don't get it. That is her name!

Hahaha. Awkward!!!

We exchanged a few more email "conversations" where she asked "who is H?", and "how did you come up with M? random?". She never said anything about liking it or anything!

I was really surprised. Have to say it kind of stunk to field her reaction, and I know that all that matters is that we like the name, but I am just so glad that everyone else we've told loves it!! Even Mr. A's mom who has been decidedly and unpredictably disinterested in the pregnancy said that she liked the name and was honored that we used her name in baby girl's first name. Good PR move by us, huh? Haha. It wasn't just for PR though- Mr. A first came up with the idea, and we love her first name!

So anyway, I am not sure how my next interaction with my friend will go. It was so awkward after how she responded at first! Luckily, I don't actually see her that often, so maybe it won't be weird by whenever I see her next.

But whatever! Cat's outta the bag, and we are excitedly looking forward to the day when M comes out to play!

Preparations (type-A heaven)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

This post will probably be boring or totally hilarious to those of you fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants'ers, but I have had alot of fun preparing for this baby, and luckily, there are only a few things on my list that are not completed. I am feeling great, and I think it is helping me to feel very calm about the "any day now" baby birthing that is ahead of me.

So here goes :)

Here was my "Before the Baby" list:
set up downstairs changing area
order more wipe solution
buy witch hazel @ the drugstore
finish prepping AIO's
fix roof (totally new roof getting put on second week of Oct!)
pack hospital bag
talk to neighbors about dog care
unpack car seat, pack n' play, bouncer
make freezer meals
organize/label linen closet
clean out car
install car seat
clean off kitchen bench
write house manual
make a list of favorite recipes

make housekey copies
clean vacuum filters
clean the house (thank you, cleaning crew!)
organize freezers

buy vegetarian something for Great Aunt B
reorganize family room shelves

(And no arguing, Great Aunt B. You are not going to come here and have to eat celery while serving up delicious carnivore meals for my hubby (and me) (and whoever else is here)... There WILL be boca burgers for you, if I have to make a special trip before we go to the hospital....)

It has been really fulfilling to cross things off this list. I just went this morning and got some last minute things at the store, and I think I won't have to make another trip before M comes, as long as she is not overdue. That is so exciting for me!

Today has been really great. I slept kind of awful on Thursday night thanks to my runny nose, but last night I slept SO much better. We had a light breakfast, and then I went to run some errands- grocery store, Target (cotton skirt for laboring, hooks to hang up brooms/mops in laundry room), the bulk store, and the farm. I've changed our sheets, done 4 loads of laundry, hung all then hanging clothes up, and folded and put away all the other clothes. In between all this, I talked to one of my friends for about half an hour while eating lunch, and laid down and got my fill of the Saturday Food Network lineup. Now we are just waiting on Mr. A to get home from his pilot training. I'm making sloppy joe's for dinner- a double batch so I can freeze what's leftover for when M is here!!!

And speaking of FOOD, I've prepared 10 items (including sloppy joe's tonight) for the freezer that will hopefully come in handy when M is here. I made them all last week, and while there was one day that was kind of hectic (I made the pulled pork and enchiladas in the same day), it all came together kind of quick! Here is the list

Meatballs (30) (for subs or pasta)
Enchiladas (9x13 pan)
Pulled BBQ Pork
Sloppy Joes
Pizza Crusts (4)
Meatloaf (2)
Hamburgers (10)
Honey Garlic Chicken
Cooked (roasted) Chicken (enough for 3 meals: Chicken Pot Pie, Chicken Salad Sandwiches, Almond Chicken Bake)

I made double batches of chili, enchiladas, and sloppy joes (tonight), and froze whatever we didn't eat for dinner. All of the other things were specially prepared just for the freezer. I thought it would seem like more work than it was, making totally extra dinners, but it wasn't too bad at all. This is my first foray into freezer cooking- I hope we will like the results!!!

I did actually write up some "Kitchen Info" and "Laundry Info" for visitors when they are here, including the location of key items, and what foods are in which freezer (kitchen or garage). I hope it will help. I am sure that Mr. A's mom will still be totally befuddled as to where the chemical-laden Dow.ny is (we just use vinegar for fabric softener), and I'm sure that someone will put my sharp knives in the dishwasher, but I'm going to have to let it go. This whole having people stay at my house and not be totally in charge of making everyone comfortable will be a huge departure from my normal hostess self, but maybe my type-A personality could use a little rounding at the edges ;-) For now though, I am grateful for it- I am feeling totally relaxed and happy and ready/excited/hopeful for labor to start so we can all meet M!

Survived Cleaning Day

Friday, September 16, 2011

And by "survived", I mean I sat in my office and worked and fed the dogs three days worth of treats while the cleaning team went to work on our house.

But, the cleaning team did a great job. They were very friendly, very thorough, and I think this will be a very good thing. It took them three hours (gulp), but that I imagine now that they will be coming every two weeks, it won't take them that long next time. I kept the dogs crated (or outside) while they were here, but I'm not sure I will have to do that every time, until of course they are wash the floors and then the dogs will need to be up for a while.

Among normal cleaning tasks, they vacuumed under the couch cushions, they dusted the ceiling fan in our 2-story family room, and they moved the shoe basket by the front door that was housing a whole civilization of dust bunnies behind it (clearly that was not on my list of normal cleaning tasks). I think Mr. A will be very happy :) And for what it's worth, the toilets are sparkling!

In other news, I have caught a cold :( I am not too happy about having a runny nose in the same general time frame as possible labor and delivery, but I'm trying to rest up in a serious way so that I am not sick for very long.

And for those of you who're wondering about belly pics, they are in their own link to the side (-->)... I just can't bring myself to post them in the normal post area...

"You can call me..."

Thursday, September 15, 2011

So on Saturday, Mr. A is going up to help his dad and brother move around some furniture for a project they are working on. His parents' house is about an hour and half away.

When he told me about it, I didn't think anything about it. We've driven up there for day trips countless times; it doesn't even "seem" like a trip at all, really. I even wondered if I should go, if his mom was going to be there, too (it's their second home), but turns out she won't be there.

Last night after dinner, Mr. A goes "Well you know, you can call me anytime on Saturday if anything, like, you know, happens."

Maybe I am just a little dense in the head lately, but it honesty took me a few seconds to realize what he was talking about.

Oh, right. Labor! Haha :)

Almost 2 years ago, I wrote a post about how when you struggle with infertility for so long, the prayer for a child almost becomes abstract and unreal. I mean, of course you are actively praying for a baby, but when your prayer goes unanswered forever, you lose the immediacy and the real-ness of your request. At least sometimes I felt that way. Like, oh sure, I'm praying for a baby, but like that is ever going to happen.

Now that I am almost to the end of this miracle pregnancy, there are still times when I feel like the reality that (God-willing) there will be a healthy baby girl in our arms in less than a month is kind of abstract. We have been preparing for this baby in so many ways for such a long time that, even now that she is almost here, it is hard for me to believe and wrap my head around some days.

Today I'll be praying that we'll all renew the passion that we have about our prayers, especially the ones that have taken on a distant feel, and the power of prayer in general!!

the dad thing to do

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

(Warning, grossness ahead.)

So last night , Mr. A and I took the pups for our normal evening walk. It was not even that hot- a nice, mild sunny evening. We came home, and he wanted hot dogs for dinner, which is nice because that's easy and I'd been cooking meatballs and pulled pork in the afternoon to freeze for when M is here, so something easy/quick was just what I was looking for, too.

But their virtue of quickness also was their downfall, I think. Because they're so quick, dinner was on the table probably less than 20 minutes after we got home. We also had carrot sticks which are also really quick-prep.

We sat right down to eat, and as I was finishing my hot dog, I got that feeling that something wasn't right. I did NOT feel good. I knew what was coming, and I stood up to see if stretching out my torso would help. Didn't really help. I opened the back door to step onto the deck to see if fresh air would help. If I had known it would not help, I would have gone the other direction into the bathroom, but instead, 3 seconds after I stepped outside, I lost 100% of my dinner onto the deck. I guess at least I wasn't still in the kitchen.

I think it was just too much food too fast for my crowded stomach so soon after our walk. I felt kind of bad because of the huge mess on the deck. I knew that it would have to be cleaned up (hosed off) immediately, and that Bert would (disgustingly) still go foraging for any scent of dinner that he could find when we let them out to play after dinner.

Mr. A has a pretty sensitive stomach when it comes to gross things- smells, especially (and the other big one is thought of eating quiche)- his family teases him endlessly about the "I'm about to throw up face" he made one time we were all staying at a cute B&B and they served some kind of quiche/baked egg dish- and I knew he probably had to run into my office to keep from watching me lose a hot dog and some carrot sticks outside. As I was finishing up getting rid of dinner, I heard him coming around the side of the house. I warned him not to come up on the deck, for fear he would lose his dinner, too.

But what is he doing? He is hooking up the hose to the spigot. He is getting ready to clean off the deck. He is saying, it's alright, why don't you go inside and brush your teeth and get some water. He is saying, I will clean this up.

I was floored!! He cleaned up the whole deck without even making his upchuck face, and he kept assuring me it was okay and it's too bad I got sick.

Some women get that warm fuzzy feeling when their husbands bring them roses or make them dinner. What strikes complete admiration into my heart? What Mr. A did last night and knowing that he is going to continue to be an amazing caring husband and will be awesome dad to baby M, even if it means cleaning up messes on the deck that would have sent him running to the hills a few months ago....


Monday, September 12, 2011

37 weeks tomorrow, folks. Holy camoley.

We are so excited that it is getting to the point where M could come at any time!! The last few days have had several overwhelming there-is-so-much-to-do-before-then moments, though. Those aren't so fun. But Mr. A and I are a good enough team that even if things get a little tense, we just chock it up to the immediacy of the situation, and move on. We are not the most lovey-dovey-PDA couple on the planet, but we are an AMAZING team, and if there is something we need to accomplish together, you better believe we're going to knock it out of the park.

After my last midwife appointment with the high blood pressure issue, I was kind of nervous about this morning's checkup. Especially since, like I said, there were a few times this weekend when I was not exactly calm or collected.

But I practiced some yoga for just about 15 minutes before I got ready to go. Because the midwife last time had indicated that I should be prepared to go to the hospital if any of my subsequent appointments revealed a situation which warranted going, I printed out the dog documents for people who are helping us with the pups when it comes time to meet M, and I printed out the kitchen info sheet that has all our freezer stock lists and favorite recipes and what all freezer meals are going to be available for eating. (Yes, I'm type-A. I'm going to do a post on the meal situation soon!) I got my hospital bag, and said bye to the pups. Who knew when I'd be home again!

Mr. A met me at the office. It was so nice for him to come with me this time (he couldn't make it last time). We talked about how excited he is to be almost done with his lessons to get his pilot's license. We talked about buying a little plane for our family (you know, when we win the lotto). I took some more deep blood-pressure-lowering breaths.

They called me back, and much to my surprise, I've actually lost three pounds in the last 10 days. I hear that sometimes that happens before delivery. Yay! There was no protein in their urine screening. AND, my blood pressure was 130/80!!! Absolute best news of the day. My midwife was going to have me re-do the 24-hr urine catch just to make sure nothing was amiss, but she decided against it because the results from the one last weekend were within the normal range, but mostly because my blood pressure went back down, I have no signs of swelling/water retention, and their urine sample was free of protein. YAY.

I am so relieved, it's hard to describe. I am totally ready to meet M, but I want her to be good and ready and healthy when she comes!! Tomorrow I will be full term, but I'm okay if she bakes another week or two. Just so she decides to come before someone makes her...

And, even though my midwife said that she is very pleased with the blood pressure decrease, she still wants me to take it easy. So I got a note from her that I need to work half days. Since apparently my office is going to treat me like I'm in third grade, I was very excited to get my "hall pass" and you better believe I've already emailed it to my boss and updated my voicemail and email signature and calendar to reflect my reduced-hour schedule.

So, after 1pm, you will find me catching up with friends, cooking meals for when M is here and we want something quick, or watching the afternoon lineup of fo.od network. Better get the lazy days out of the way before there is a baby in my arms!! After all the angst of the last week or so, today is a very very welcomed breath of fresh air.

I am going to bed at 6pm.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

It's just one of those days.

I work for a national agency that does not have "maternity leave" per se, in that there is no specific paid time off- whatever leave we take after having a baby has to either be leave we have saved or leave without pay.

Several months ago (I just went back to look for my post on it, and I am flabbergasted that I never wrote an in-law installment on this occurrence), my MIL lectured me on what I was thinking for maternity leave, saying that I could only use 6 weeks of my sick time for time off after the baby. Any extra time had to be vacation time. This assinine policy had never even crossed my mind, and I was so anxious after her lecture that I could barely sleep that night.

Since I have been blessed with good health, of course I have 5 times as much sick time saved as I do vacation time. But I remembered that my boss took quite a while off after her baby, so I just brushed my MIL's tirade off as antiquated policy. My FIL (they both work for the same agency) seemed to agree that MIL had no idea what she was talking about, since now they allow fathers to take up to 12 weeks of time off. So I felt much better.

A few weeks ago, I came up with a plan based on my current available leave balances. This plan included me being totally off for a month, working one day every two weeks for two months, working part time in January, and coming back full time in February. I know that alot of women get considerably less (just the 6 weeks), but I have been dreaming of the day when the sick leave balance takes a major hit because of a baby, and there were alot of times when I thought that day would never get here. What else was I saving sick time for, anyway?

This morning, I had a teleconference with my boss about my maternity leave plans. I emailed her a copy of my master plan (above), and she said it looked fine, and that only 6 weeks of the total hours I was planning on taking off could be categorized as sick time.

Well, then my plan wasn't fine, because in my master plan, the bulk of the hours were going to be sick time hours!! How is that fine?!

Maybe it is totally superficial for me to feel this way, but I feel like my whole happy maternity leave plan just got knocked off its axis, and this has completely ruined my day. Now, in order for me to not go back full time until January, I'll have to work a morning every two weeks in October, one day a week end of October-beginning of December, and part time in December. Maybe I am blowing this out of proportion, but I was so excited about not working and being able to leisurely get ready for Christmas with our new baby without having to worry about regular working!!! Now it's all just disappeared before my eyes.

I am SO frustrated with this policy. I have twice as much sick time as I am being allowed to use right now. What the hell am I supposed to use sick time on, if I can't use it while I'm trying to take care of a newborn!!? My boss says that kids are always sick, and I will be surprised how much sick time I use even after I'm back to "full time", but I don't remember me (or any of my sibs) "always being sick" when we were little.

At this rate, I'm going to retire with eight thousand hours of sick time. I don't think they should be able to tell me I can't use time I have saved up for when I will need time off.


I was pretty surprised at how the meeting went- she is usually very easy-going and will often times let rules be bent, but she made no apologies for this policy. She said I could ask my midwife for a note saying that I needed more "sick time" off after the baby, but what are we, in third-freakin'-grade!??!!? I know it's not her fault, but I am just surprised that she wasn't more apologetic, and that kind of bummed me out even more.

THEN I had another meeting with her and another supervisor about an actual case I'm working on, and they decided they didn't quite agree with my position, and would it be possible to do some extra work on the case on the side before we figure out what we're going to do with it?

Oh, sure, that will be just peachy.

THEN, the cleaning people called while I was on the phone with the second meeting, and left a message which didn't show up until 15 minutes after they were supposed to be here for our cleaning estimate. What did it say? They were calling to confirm our estimate appointment. Since I didn't call them back before the estimate time, they never showed up!


So I called them back and rescheduled for 3pm this afternoon, when they actually did show up, but in between the second meeting and 3pm, of course I was grossly unproductive because I was just steaming over this whole leave issue. (The cleaning estimate is higher than Mr. A thought it would be, but at this point, I feel like throwing in the towel on everything. It's only money, right?)

THEN, I am sitting here trying to resume work like I was supposed to be doing all day, and my midwife's number shows up on my phone. I thought, Oh my Lord, if my urine sample was bonkers and they are just calling now to tell me so on today of all days, I am seriously going to lose it.

Luckily, she was just calling to check to see if I'd developed any other clinical symptoms of high blood pressure/pre-eclampsia (which I thought was really sweet of her to call and check), and that my urine jug's protein was within the normal ranges. If my blood pressure is still high on Monday, though, she will probably want to re-run the 24-hr catch. Oh great fun that will be! She did say, though, that she would write me a note that I need to reduce my work hours until the baby is born, which since they will be before I have the baby, do not affect the 6 week limit after she is here, so maybe that will give me some satisfaction as far as taking sick leave to "care" for our little one. So that will be nice. Except she said she wants me to reduce the work hours so I can stay off my feet. And I'm envisioning making tons of freezer meals in my afternoons off...

And I am sure that as worked up as I am about the whole leave fiasco, my blood pressure was not exactly laying low today. Totally sucks.

Mr. Clean

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

I mean, Mr. A. It seems as though he is going through his own little nesting phase.

On Sunday after lunch, he went to use the downstairs bathroom and came right back out again, visibly distraught that the toilet seat had some specks of discoloration on it.

It was so "disgusting" that he picked up his keys immediately and went straight to the store to get rubber gloves and a bottle of clorox. And then spent 2 hours cleaning only the toilet area of the half bathroom, including behind and under the toilet and IN THE TOILET TANK, including another trip to the home improvement store to get a new toilet seat because he declared the existing one unsalvageable.

Now let's back up a little.

First of all, I promise there was no epidemic of black mold infesting the toilet seat. Which you may have thought there was, based on his reaction to it.

I do my absolute best to keep up with the household cleaning, although I admit I would rather bake you brownies or make pasta from scratch or do ANY cooking before I would like to dust the baseboards. AND I use natural cleaning products that I do think are effective, but let's face it, they're not bleach. (Although I do use clorox's disposable head toilet bowl cleaners...)

But of course the time between bathroom cleanings is probably a tad longer than exactly desirable, even though I definitely clean them before it gets dangerous or completely gross. I promise. But even when I do clean the bathrooms, I don't normally scrub behind the toilet. Do you? I am I a worse housekeeper than I thought??

So I do my best to clean up here and there, including swiffering before all the dog hair on the wood floors makes it look like we have carpet, and wiping down the sinks and toilets and showers on a fairly regular basis. And I keep the kitchen pretty sparkly, although the microwave is another story, and I don't always shake out the toaster crumbs.

But when Mr. A gets a bee in his bonnet about cleaning, you better watch out. The last time he cleaned the kitchen, he took the knobs off the stovetop and cleaned them and behind them. And then with the recent cleaning of the toilet that involved a whole new seat.....

So he has come to the conclusion that we need to hire someone to come clean our house once a week.

*I hang my head in shame*

I can't tell you how ineffective this makes me feel. He says I shouldn't take it personally, but I am feeling this suggestion of his very personally.

I work from home, for pete's sake! Why can't I handle this in an acceptable manner? I mean, why can't I just keep this place spic-and-span with a few minutes of cleaning per day?

He says that that is the point. I do work, full time, from home, and while maybe I keep "up" with the cleaning by doing a little here and there, the house isn't regularly fully and thoroughly cleaned. He says not to worry about it- my time is more valuable working than cleaning anyway, and I shouldn't feel bad about it. His mom had a cleaning service, after all.

But I guess that doesn't make me feel any better. His mom is not a domestic example in any sort of manner- no wonder she didn't want to clean her house! She didn't want to make things from scratch, either!

My mom never had to hire anyone. (Huge caveat, she was a stay at home mom. And she had four kids "who needed to learn how to clean". Haha.)

Mr. A says that if I didn't have a job, and my responsibilities were solely HOME related, maybe it would be different. So I said, well, whenever the baby comes, I will be off for several months, so I will be sort of a stay at home mom then. His response was that I will be caring for a newborn and two dogs, and that he thinks that that will be plenty without having me feel like I need to deep clean the house once a week. He said it is amazing that I do all the cooking that I do and all the laundry, too.

So tomorrow, we are getting an estimate on how much someone would charge to come in once a week. It's a huge blow to my domestic diva ego. But maybe it will be nice to not have to worry about it.

Oh, and by the way, Mr. A also declared that our kitchen trash can was also too dirty for existence. Yes, the trashcan! So now we have a spotless new white one. This baby is going to make our house the cleanest place on the planet!!

Nursery Tour

Monday, September 05, 2011

Thank you to everyone who was so encouraging on my last post :) I turned in the 24-hr urine collection Saturday at 10am, and paged the midwife to check the results at 730pm that night. She said she would check and call if any of the results warranted further action before my next checkup at 36w6d. So far, she has not called, so I am hanging onto "no news is good news"... I am still bummed about the high blood pressure, but I'm hoping it was just a fluke. I don't have any other symptoms of high blood pressure (no swelling, dizzy vision, headaches, etc.), so I'm thankful for that!

Now onto more fun things, I think baby girl's nursery is done! Here is a photo tour! (Descriptions below each picture.)

Baby's corner in our room. Mr. A was going to make a cradle, but he has been so busy with work that he just hasn't had the time. We do have the cradle pad in case he gets inspired in the next few weeks!

Entry view of the nursery. Baby's hospital bag is packed and ready to go (on the rocker)!! We have 2 blankets, 4 outfits, 3 cloth diapers, 2 diaper covers, 2 hats, and 2 sets of booties for her!

Nursing/Rocking corner. On the nightstand is her box of board books. The top drawer of the nightstand contains things for me (e.g., nursing pads, lotion/cream, maybe a book). The middle drawer contains burp cloths. The bottom drawer contains more (bigger) books.

Changing area!! On the wall is a Guardian Angel print and a collage frame for family pictures (if they ever send them to me....) We have the diaper pail to the left of the dresser. On top of the dresser on the far left is her diaper organizer with three compartments: hair stuff, diaper lotion/spray, and snappi's/pins. Moving to the right is 2 stacks of cloth wipes (we will spray a wipe to moisten it before using it on her bum), a stuffed sheep and doll, and the changing pad.

The top drawer of her dresser holds prefolds and "disposable" diaper liners (which I made from cut-up old tshirts) for the first few days of meconium or whenever we'd like to use a liner we can throw away. The middle drawer holds newborn-3 months onesies and pants. The bottom drawer holds receiving blankets, swaddlers, and flat diapers.

The compartment to the right has two shelves: top shelf holds a bin with diaper covers and our three newborn all-in-one diapers and five fitted diapers. Bottom shelf holds a bin with hats and socks and our two pocket diapers (which are too big to be used just yet).

Her closet!! On the very top shelf on the left is our car seat cover for winter, and the pack n' play bag. To the right are three boxes with extra clothes- one is empty, one holds 3-6 month clothes, and one holds 6-9 month clothes. I'm hoping these will help me keep all the sizes organized!

Hanging on the top rail (left to right) are jackets/sweaters, extra hangers, and newborn-3 months dressers/jumpers/sleepers/sleep sacks.

On the shelf (left to right) are the downstairs changing area supplies (have to set this up and bring these bins downstairs), a bin holding pack n' play sheets and cradle sheets and extra diaper potion concentrate and witchhazel for mixing, a bin holding crib sheets, and a keepsake box holding the quilt that Mr. A's mom made for baby girl.

Hanging on the bottom rail (left to right) are two robes, and an organizer for towels/washcloths, and special blankets.

On the floor (left to right) is the baby tub, the small diaper bag, and the hamper for dirty clothes.


It is so exciting to have her room ready! We hope she will be very comfortable in here- we sure have had fun getting it set up!!


And, I think we have decided on her name! Since I refer to everyone with their first initial, she is baby M!!! So exciting. We feel so blessed :)

More Mind (Body) Games

Friday, September 02, 2011

You'd think after the 1-hr glucose test failure, and failing the 1-hr draw of the 3-hr (so technically being okay but of course still getting a complex about it), I'd learn to just let precautionary measures roll off my back without getting all in a tizzy.

Today (35w3d) my blood pressure was on the high side again (140/90), and so my midwife wants me to do the 24-hr urine test. She said their office urine test is completely negative for protein, and if I was in serious pre-eclampsia mode, it would definitely show up, so that is a good thing that their test was negative. Also, my belly measurements continue to be spot on, so she can tell the baby is growing that way, and even when she was checking the heartbeat, she could hear heartbeat accelerations when baby girl was moving and back to normal when she stopped, which she said is very healthy.

And she even told me not to go home and freak out, which of course is the most useless thing she has ever said to anyone on the planet.

So I got to walk out of the office with the embarrassing pee jug, which has taken up residence next to the tea jug in the fridge. I already warned Mr. A to be careful when refilling his glass after dinner...

It's just another instance of where all of a sudden I'm afraid/convinced of the bottom falling out. I'm afraid that the placenta is failing and that baby girl isn't getting the nutrients she needs, and I have convinced myself that at our next appointment, I'll have to be induced and the baby will get stressed out, and I'll have to have a c-section. (I really hope not to offend those who choose to have c-sections or were in a situation where they were necessary- but it is just my preference/dream to have a natural labor and delivery!)

I also had the Group-B strep test today, and so I have convinced myself that will also be positive, so even if I don't have to be induced, I won't get to labor as long as I want to at home because I will need antibiotics. Ugh.

She said it is completely possible that I just get subconsciously stressed on the days of my appointments and that is why it is high (last appointment it went down after I laid on my side a few minutes...but it didn't do that today... but of course by the end of my appointment, I was probably more stressed about all the urine collection info). I guess I hope that is the case- on my appointment days, I don't get to do yoga and the morning routine is just different, so maybe that is it. I don't know. I just want our baby to be healthy and getting what she needs. Why isn't my body cooperating?!?!

And then of course I say that, and I listen to Mr. A reassure me that out of all the procedures we tried that failed and even though I haven't passed every test this pregnancy with flying colors, this pregnancy has actually been pretty damn near perfect. I have been able to keep exercising, I'm not uncomfortable, baby girl looks perfect, and generally there have been zero serious complications, or any complications, since on paper, I passed the 3-hr glucose test. So really, maybe my body is cooperating more than I give it credit for, relative to what many moms go through for their little ones to be born. I stand corrected.

But it still stinks to go to the doctor and feel perfectly fine and get the news that you are not perfectly fine. No one wants to hear that.

So I am pretty much expecting that she will be here before her due date. Which sends me into a whole other mindset of needing to do eight gabillion things in the next week in case on the 12th, she will need to be born. Which of course Mr. A cautions me against getting all stressed out because of the blood pressure issue. Ha!

I will turn in my pee jug tomorrow morning at the hospital and get some bloodwork. They should have the results by tomorrow after dinnertime, and if there are any concerns, I will go in next week for an NST and an ultrasound to check the placenta and fluid levels. It would be cool to see our girl again before she is born, but I just hope she is healthy and happy in there and getting what she needs. I don't want to fail her now! I just keep praying God will bless her with a long and happy and healthy life with our family....

(ETA: You would think that after struggling with infertility, I would have learned that these test results are completely out of my control- just like infertility itself- but somehow, just like with infertility, I keep asking myself what I could have done better or why can't I do this right or what is wrong with me?)